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Introduction to International Relations

Enduring Questions and Contemporary Perspectives

by Joseph Grieco, G. John Ikenberry and Michael Mastanduno

Outside resources

The resources below have been selected to illustrate the continuing relevance of each chapter’s enduring question. For each chapter, you will find a selection of videos, primary sources, relevant news articles, and games.

Chapter 2: The Emergence of a Global System of States, 1500-today
Chapter 3: Theories of International Relations
Chapter 4: The Analysis of Foreign Policy
Chapter 5: War and Its Causes
Chapter 6: Pathways to Interstate Peace
Chapter 7: Weapons of Mass Destruction
Chapter 8: International Politics and International Economics: Trade, Money, Multinationals, and Institutions
Chapter 9: Power, Politics, and the World Economy
Chapter 10: Dilemmas of Development
Chapter 11: Pirates, Warlords, and Terrorists: Challenges to the State
Chapter 12: The Environment and International Relations
Chapter 13: Facing the Future: Six Visions of an Emerging International Order

Chapter 2: The Emergence of a Global System of States, 1500-today

Video resources

  • Check out a helpful Allen Sens video on imperialism here.
  • To see a time-lapse video of the world’s major wars from 1500 until today, click here.
  • For a crash course video about the history of the Cold War, click here.
  • For a website containing several videos and simulations about the Cold War, click here.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Read an interesting discussion about Game Theory and the Cold War and learn the basics of game theory! Click here.
  • To read the actual text of the Treaty of Westphalia, click here.

Relevant news articles

  • For an article about Iran and the dangers of the Munich analogy in politics today, click here.
  • For an article about the international system today, the Treaty of Westphalia, and China, click here.

Games and activities

  • To play a game simulating the dismal trench warfare of World War I, click here. [Warning: violence]
  • Try this Sporcle quiz on the timeline of events of World War II.


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Chapter 3: Theories of International Relations

Video resources

  • A Realist Walks into a Bar: To see a brief video explaining realism, click here.
  • To see a similar video on liberalism, click here.
  • To see a similar one on constructivism (and to learn how it pertains to The Matrix), click here.

Primary sources and further learning

  • For more on Marxism in international relations, check out these notes.
  • Take a look at this article on charges of 'token women' in positions of power, and make sure to take a look at the paper to which it links!

Relevant news articles



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Chapter 4: The Analysis of Foreign Policy

Video resources

  • Look at this video, one of many examples of the Islamic State’s use of propaganda in the current conflict.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Check out this online exhibit from the US National Archives about propaganda during World War II.

Relevant news articles

  • Check out this piece on US historical covert operations in Cuba.
  • Take a look at this article about military talks (and military action) between North and South Korea.


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Chapter 5: War and Its Causes

Video resources

  • For an Allen Sens video explaining the Prisoner’s Dilemma in depth, click here.
  • For another Allen Sens video on refugees and migrants, click here.
  • For a detailed but brief history of the Rwandan genocide, one of the most tragic internal wars in world history, check out this video and information sheet.

Primary sources and further learning

Relevant news articles

  • Read this article on developments in the war against Islamic State in the Middle east.
  • Read this article on worsening human rights in the conflict in Crimea.

Games and activities

  • Listen to this Guns N’ Roses song, “Civil War,” one of many songs that have been written to decry the tragedies of war, both internal and external.
  • Try this simulation, in which you can explore the tragedies and atrocities that come with living in a refugee camp in Sudan, hiding from the Janjaweed.


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Chapter 6: Pathways to Interstate Peace

Video resources

  • For an interesting Allen Sens video on economic interdependence (and liberalism), click here.
  • Listen to this video in which Edward Luck (an IR scholar and United Nations official) discuss whether international institutions matter.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Read the actual text of the United Nations charter here.
  • Read the original covenant of the League of Nations here.
  • To learn more about the origins of the League of Nations and the UN, their differences, and the challenges the UN faces today, read this piece from the BBC.

Relevant news articles

  • Read this article about the first high-level military talks between North and South Korea in a long time.
  • Check out this piece from Foreign Policy, which looked ahead to talks between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The piece looks at diplomatic incentives for Obama, and touches on many of the themes from Chapter 6.

Games and activities

  • Check out this activity from the BBC about the League of Nations.



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Chapter 7: Weapons of Mass Destruction

Video resources

Primary sources and further learning

  • Read the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) on the United Nation’s website here.
  • Read the full text of the Chemical Weapons Convention here.
  • For the full text of the Biological Weapons Convention, click here.
  • Read this piece about the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster.
  • Check out this thorough, day-by-day log of the JFK administration during the Cuban Missile Crisis, including numerous primary sources in different media.

Relevant news articles

  • During the Syrian civil war, the international community worked together to eliminate the Syrian governments chemical weapons stockpile so chemical weapons could not be used on rebel forces. To read more about the destruction of those weapons, click here.
  • To read piece from CSIS about the initial deal struck between Iran and world powers on Iran’s nuclear program, click here.

Games and activities

  • Check out this simulation that checks your knowledge of and teaches you about nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
  • Can you name all the members of the nuclear club? Try it!


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Chapter 8: International Politics and International Economics: Trade, Money, Multinationals, and Institutions

Video resources

  • Check out this video about some of the controversy surrounding Chiquita Bananas, one of the first and most influential MNEs in the world (Warning: contains some graphic images).
  • To see video that explains MNEs (called multinational corporations, or MNCs, in the video) clearly and in detail and outlines some criticisms of MNEs, click here.
  • For an Allen Sens video explaining dependencia, go here.
  • Check out another Allen Sens video, this time on free trade. At the end of this video, there’s an interesting bit about the impact of free trade on peace. Enjoy!

Primary sources and further learning

  • Check out this website that tracks protectionist measures by country.

Relevant news articles

  • Take a look at this brief article showing how the WTO can affect individual countries’ trade laws.
  • Read this article criticizing US protectionism in its trade relationship with China.
  • Check out this article from the Moscow Times discussing the weakness of the Russian ruble, fixed exchange rates, currency market intervention, and other similar issues.

Games and activities

  • Try your hand playing this game about the World Trade Organization!


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Chapter 9: Power, Politics, and the World Economy

Video resources

  • To watch a video explaining the views of and differences between Adam Smith and Karl Marx, click here.
  • Check out this helpful video discussing absolute and relative gains.

Primary sources and further learning

  • If you have access to JStor through your university, check out this journal article by Robert Powell, titled “Absolute and Relative Gains in International Relations Theory.”

Relevant news articles

  • Read this article about a dispute between the EU and China over China’s actions toward MNEs.
  • Take a look at this article from Forbes on China’s declining ownership of US debt.
  • Read this piece from the Telegraph about the most recent G20 summit and the impact of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s early departure.


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Chapter 10: Dilemmas of Development

Video resources

  • Listen to the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg, discuss the oil curse and how it relates to his country in this video.
  • Take a look at this video from the BBC about the oil curse, the first part of a three-part series.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Look through this scholarly article on the Beijing Consensus by Joshua C. Ramo.
  • Check out this discussion from the IMF website on moral hazard and IMF loans (NOTE: Piece is from 2002).
  • Take a look at this report from the Center for Global Development about some of the controversies surrounding foreign aid.

Relevant news articles

  • Check out this article from Bloomberg about the BRICS’ accelerating plan to create a development bank.

Games and activities



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Chapter 11: Pirates, Warlords, and Terrorists: Challenges to the State

Video resources

  • Take a look at this video summarizing the 25 most ‘failed states’ in the world.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Perhaps the largest instance of non-state violence in the world over the past few years has been Mexico’s bloody drug war. Reach this backgrounder from the Council on Foreign Relations about the conflict.
  • Ten things you didn’t know about the Somali pirates: check out this article from the Wall Street Journal about piracy off of Somalia’s coast.

Relevant news articles

  • For an interesting article about Libya’s descent toward ‘state failure,’ check this out.
  • Take a look at this tragic story about another mass killing in Iraq by the terrorist group Islamic State.



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Chapter 12: The Environment and International Relations

Video resources

  • Watch this video on dolphin slaughter in Japan, narrated by Matt Damon.
  • Check out this video explaining the Tragedy of the Commons. This same site also has a great video explaining the Prisoner’s Dilemma and its relevance to both international negotiations and Marxism.
  • To hear a discussion on the impact of climate change on global food security, visit here.

Primary sources and further learning

  • To read the original text of MARPOL 1973, visit here.
  • To read the original text of the US-Canada Air Quality Agreement and subsequent progress reports, visit here.

Relevant news articles

  • Read this article on the dangers of overfishing in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Read this story about deforestation in Indonesia.
  • Check out this new study that aims to debunk denials of climate change.
  • Read this story about South Korea’s response to climate change.
  • Read this story about the impact of China’s energy sector on climate change.
  • To read a fascinating story about how overfishing and marine population are turning the oceans into a failed state (connecting Chapters 11 and 12), check this out.

Games and activities

  • Check out how the climate has changed over time. This interactive tool from NASA allows you to examine how sea ice, sea levels, carbon emissions, and temperature have changed over time.
  • Play a game, either by yourself or with friends, that shows some of the basic effects of weather. Brought to you by NASA. Check it out!
  • Play the BBC’s climate challenge game! Be a world leader in Europe, and see if you can reduce carbon emissions while maintaining a strong economy and popularity with voters.
  • Play this game from the UN/ISDR and help protect communities from natural disasters!


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Chapter 13: Facing the Future: Six Visions of an Emerging International Order

Video resources

  • Check out this video on the future of the liberal world order featuring author, John Ikenberry.
  • Take a look at this discussion, also featuring Professor Ikenberry, on whether the West or the East will be dominant in the century ahead.

Primary sources and further learning

  • Read this piece from the Carnegie Endowment on the likelihood of a future bipolar system, the rise of China, and the importance of balancing and alliances.
  • Check out this story on the 2014 Ukraine crisis and what it means for the Clash of Civilizations thesis.

Games and activities

  • Now that you’re done with the book, see how well you can do on this tough Sporcle quiz!


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